Category Archives: Featured

God in me… God is with me.

My Family.
My Family.

I recently lost my mom due to her very short battle with cancer. It was not an easy fight for the whole family. I still tend to question God why He had let this happen to me, to mom…to US. Mom is one of His faithful servant but why was she not given a good life? Why did it have to end so soon? Why her? Why not the others? Why? Unending whys, sighs and whines. Up until now, I still have the ache. I still have unanswered questions. I feel that I am consumed with so much darkness. I am blinded by the pain the loss of a loved one has caused me. I am struggling to see the light. If there is. If it is really there.

I am craving for love – love that only a mother can give. It will never be the same, I say.

I have tried to divert my attention through numerous activities. From dining out with friends, to meeting new people, to dating, to trying new things… then, at the end of the day, I am just exhausted.  I fervently prayed to God that He may give comfort to His helpless daughter and pour out love & solace to my momentary spiritual dryness.

My SFC family is an answered prayer, as always. The weekly gatherings, the ongoing Christian Life Program, the teachings and House Hold meetings are, somehow, my tools for survival. The SFC members held the Tongues Workshop last 11th Aug, which started at around 8 pm. This activity is not new to me so I planned to skip this teaching. But my plan did not work. God has been whispering in my ears for the past few days. So, I gave it a go. I said yes, as expected.

We started the activity with a prayer and worship led by Bro. Nicky Egnisaban. At first, I felt the dryness from the inside, like I needed more empowerment from up above. The speaker, however, is one of my favorite speakers of all time – Bro. Joel Egnisaban, so, I eagerly listened to every detail, tips, techniques and experiences during the talk, it is as if the angels are singing a lullaby. Then I knew that this will be different from the previous Tongues workshop. I felt God’s presence right there and then. I felt His warm embrace that made me cry.

The bridge that didn't seem to end.
The bridge that didn’t seem to end.

On the first part of the workshop, we were led into a prayer followed by a song – Great God. I closed my eyes and envisioned my mom’s last days. I saw our house, my mom lying in bed, sick but alive. I thanked God for showing me my mom on that very moment. I missed her so much that I wanted to hug and kiss her but was not able to do so because the song ended abruptly yet I continued praying. During the song “How Great is Our God”, I saw a vision of myself on a never ending bridge, in a port, in the darkness… alone. I was crying. I was scared. Then there came a light trying to snatch my whole being. It seems like the light is taking all the negativities, extracting every painful memory in me. On each step I take, I can feel the gentleness of God’s miraculous hands trying to lighten up my heavy baggage. I walked and walked and walked until I reached my next destination on a bright new day. The view is astonishing – a mountain with snow on top, a lake surrounded by trees and an empty road. There was a cold breeze while the sun is up, I was enjoying the journey, so surreal. The serenity of the place, the calmness of the lake and the extravagance of the mountain made me feel so blessed. It is as if God is telling me that “these are my masterpieces, these are all for you, my child”. In search for greater happiness, I continued walking. I was getting tired, the melancholy is trying to grab me by force. I was about to lose hope. But then again, God has surprised me, now with an image of a lady. There, waiting for me is the Our Lady of Manaoag / Peñafrancia – patroness of the sick, helpless and of those seeking for miracles. She wrapped me in her arms while I cried myself to sleep, like a baby sobbing on her mom’s shoulders longing for warm hugs. Then I woke up, I woke up from a deep slumber. When I opened my eyes, I am in a different picture, however still on a woman’s embrace. A lady in black… that is Sta. Monica, mother of St. Augustine. I was comforted by a mother, a mother whom I longed for. (My mom used to serve our Parish Church, Sta. Monica Parish, as the Parish Pastoral Council President.)

Our Lady of Manaoag.
Our Lady of Manaoag.

The next scene is on a busy street somewhere similar to Manhattan or Brooklyn. It was again dark. I was so confused. I was again questioning God why. Why are there so many darkness in my journey? I am asking Him why He has forsaken me. I demanded an answer, NOW! On that same street, I was just standing, frozen in time, looking at the road ahead of me. It looks terrifying. I wanted to move but I cannot. There was a very strange atmosphere… creepy… haunting! Then I closed my eyes and prayed, asking God to take me out from this turmoil. As soon as I opened my eyes, I saw a silhouette of a lady walking towards me. She was on a white dress, with a very long hair. She stood right in front of me and whispered, “It will be alright”. The moment I realized who she was, she’s gone. That was mom during her younger days. My mom hugged me and walked away. On that instance, I felt a familiar touch. The same feeling I have whenever I hear the mass and pray the Lord’s Prayer. The position of the arm and fingers on my chest are so comforting, reassuring me of His divine love. That touch is from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, saying that I shall prepare Him my heart because He will be my strength. (Exodus 15)

The road where I met my Mom.
The road where I met my Mom.

The last song was Heavenly…Heaven, one of my favorite song. While singing this song, I was really crying.  I was again in a dark place, somehow similar to Angkor Wat. In my day dream, I saw my departed loved ones. I saw them dancing in the sky, one after the other. I really wished I could fly and dance with them. I can see on their faces that they are extremely happy and peaceful in heaven. Then one by one they were gone.  They left by showing me a fireworks-like effect in the sky – My grandmother, grandfather, dad and lastly, my mom… all beautiful sets of fireworks display. My family love fireworks. It signifies good luck and colorful, new beginnings. They made me understand that they are now in a blissful place and there’s nothing to worry about. I need to let go of the sadness and grief in order to move on. At the very end, the most magnificent set of fireworks lit, I saw Mother Mary and Christ with their arms wide open, smiling back at me and said “we are always here for you, do not be afraid”. Our God is much larger than your worries and all uncertainties.

The dark sky where I later on saw the firecrackers.
The dark sky where I later on saw the firecrackers.

This made me realized that in my life’s journey, no matter how difficult and dark the road is, God will always be at my side. I may have doubted Him, but He will always, always be faithful. It is also a beautiful reminder that only in darkness I can see light and God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all. I just need to believe, have faith and trust Him fully.

God truly worked in mysterious and remarkable ways. The tongues workshop helped me express the thoughts words cannot utter. And because of this, I will continue praising and thanking God for His ways are always wonderful.

Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Article by: Sis Roe Anne Gonzales

CFC Singles for Christ Oman, Love Forum

SFC ICON 2015 Logo
This year’s theme of the Couples for Christ community.

I first heard of this activity mentioned by one of our couple coordinators, I have to admit that I was sort of surprised to hear that a teaching like this ever existed in the ministry of the Singles for Christ (SFC). I then recalled that it was mentioned by one of the full time pastoral worker (FTPW), SFC is a discernment ministry for missionaries, where members have to decide whether they remain as members or become much more, in terms of their service, to other ministries like in Kids for Christ (KFC), Youth for Christ (YFC) or the same in SFC. I found the same analogy, when it comes to membership, where members stay and will be prepared to become future members of the Couples for Christ (CFC), Servants of the Lord (SOLD) or Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD). This teaching was preparing us for courtship and eventually having future partners in the community. It was just pretty amazing for me that the ministry even concerned itself with things like this for its members. Since the theme for the CFC community this year is Love More, it is nice that even romantic love will be discussed, especially among us singles.

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Photo credits: Susan Uy

It was held in the house of HOLD members in Al Khuwair last 23rd of July, 2015. While the rest of the city were enjoying the Renaissance holiday of the country, a few single men and women prepared and went to the venue to attend the activity by 5:30 PM. We were asked to be in semi-formal attire, so we all dressed up. In my personal opinion, the sisters, enjoyed dressing up more than the brothers. I was impressed, as always, how nice everyone looked, more with the sisters, of course, who had make up and heels on. It was again, a long day for me, because I came from a household, where I needed to prepare early before having the meeting then there was only a short time before going to the love forum, which meant, less rest for me. Anyway, me as well as almost my entire household went there and prepared ourselves for the activity.

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Photo credits: Susan Uy

While waiting for the speakers, I was looking around the venue and I couldn’t help but comment on how the place looked quite romantic with all the hearts and pink balloons, either sticking to the walls or hanged on the chandeliers of the house. One of our speakers was right when she commented on how the place looked very Valentine’s Day. The activity comprised of four talks, each was given by former SFC members, who are now in CFC. All found their partners within the community themselves. But before the main talks, we had a game, where questions about past romantic experiences were asked. It was quite entertaining and mostly funny. Personally, I couldn’t care less since I don’t have as much experience as most of them who attended it.

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Photo credits: Caroline Denaque

Then came the most challenging part for me, it was the main talks. The night was dragging painfully slow and as tired as I am, I couldn’t help but doze off in some of them, although, I keep on hearing some of the important points about each of them. Talk 1 was given by bro Joel Egnisaban and discussed on how to love and care for sisters, Talk 2 was given by first speaker’s wife, sis Badet Egnisaban and talked mainly on how brothers should be treated by sisters. Talk 3, was given by, bro Jeff Silvestre and talked mainly on courtship in SFC. Finally, Talk 4, was given by sis Jaja Bautista and dealt with the 14 common boy-girl relationship issues. The night ended with a serenade from the brothers and giving of roses and chocolates to the sisters by the brothers.

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Photo credits: Roe Ann Gonzales

I went there, personally, trying to know the answer to the question, eternally bugging me, if “forever” really does exist and with the look of things, there’s a good chance it can be found somewhere. The speakers were encouraging brothers to start courting sisters in the community, since there is a common ground to start with, in terms of understanding each other when it comes to service in the community. It is really a good advice coming from our “kuyas and ates,” but personally, I think that true love, which can last up till forever, when all else vanishes, will find you and will be given in the right time and right circumstances by God who has been the source of all the love in the universe and who is Himself, Love in its very meaning. We were taught to be in relationships for the right purpose and intentions and it is up to us how to use that knowledge to find our own “forever.”

“Rock and roll to the world,” God bless, everyone!

Article by: Cyrus Garay

SFC-Oman 7th National Conference – Love More

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Photo Credit: Bro Jhun Guerrero

May 16, 2015, the most awaited day for all singles men and women for Christ in Oman to celebrate the 7th National Conference with the theme: “Love More” (John 21: 15-17).

The assembly in Ghala Parish Hall starts at 6:30am. Early bird registrant, sis Ana Marie Sera, was acknowledged. The rests of the SFC service team, SFC members and SFC plus participants followed in the registration to sign up their names and claim their SFC NATCON T-shirt and kit Most of the SFC registrants came from Muscat and followed by SFCs in Sohar. Breakfast was served and special thanks to HOLD members for preparing it. The celebration starts with the recitation of the Holy Rosary and simultaneously a pray over for the speakers and sharers have been offered. After the prayer, all were gathered and settled inside the parish hall to practice the praise songs together with SFC music ministry…

View Full Story: SFC-Oman 7th National Conference by Sis Grace Demegillo

SFC-Oman 3rd Chapter Assembly

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M Grace Sombero Demegillo

On 17th April 2015, SFC-Oman graced the Friday weekend with Christ. It started with a Tagalog thanksgiving mass at 10:00am at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church, Ruwi. The CFC Singles for Christ Oman family shared in the mass offering. After mass, at around 1:00pm, SFC gathered at Zamora’s residence SFC-HQ for the general chapter assembly. Lunch was served. SFC leaders and members, who were present in the assembly, did acknowledge and thanked the sponsors: CFC-SFC coordinator, Tita Mil Zamora and Unit Leader, Sis Lilybeth Rodriguez, for the delicious and healthy steamed fish and pineapple chicken for lunch. And also Bro. Cyrus Garay and company for the yummy strawberry ice cream dessert! After lunch, SFCs together with couple coordinators gathered for the opening prayer, praise and worship. Our prayers, praises, and worships were spearheaded by Tito Chong Zamora, our CFC-SFC coordinator. A prayer was also offered for the speaker of the day, Sis Mary Jo Martinez.

Sister Mary Jo gives the talk about the Creed.
Sister Mary Jo gives the talk about the Creed.

A total of 10 SFCs were present during the said chapter assembly. Majority of the SFC attendees were brothers, there were 7 of them whereas there were only 3 sisters. Though there were limited numbers of SFCs present for that day’s assembly, it was successfully accomplished!

That day’s talk was about The Creed, shared and delivered by sis Mary Jo. It started with a short video to reflect on. It was then reinforced in the talk. It started with the fact that there are 4 Pillars of the Catholic Faith: a) Creed, b) Sacraments, c) Commandments, and d) Lord’s Prayer. Jesus, our Savior, taught all of these pillars of faith to us, Catholics. By the meaning of His name Jesus, which means “God saves” supports and sustains our Catholic Faith to become a better Christian. A call for self-examination of faith and conscience when this question is raised and asked: How do you believe when you cannot share it? It is quite challenging for each one. It is very difficult to become a good Christian and individual while keeping the Catholic faith in God unwavering whereas it is quite easy to falter.

The Creed is a formal statement of Christian and Catholic beliefs and faith. It has two sets:

  1. The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

  1. Nicene Creed

 

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate. He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

At present, the Catholic faith recites the Apostle’s Creed in every Eucharistic Celebration. We believe in one God unified in the Trinity, the belief that God exists as a unique union of the Creator (The Father), Redeemer and Savior (The Son, Jesus Christ), and the Sanctifier (The Holy Spirit).

The Creed constructs the Catholic faith, guides the actions of each Catholic, and serves as a preparation for worship. It serves to transition between the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist during the mass celebration.

In conclusion, either Apostle’s Creed or Nicene Creed that is being recited, all ends up with the word AMEN or “so be it”. Amen as a declaration of affirmation of faith used at the conclusion of prayers.

Photo Credits: MMRZ photography
The attendees of the Chapter Assembly

The General Chapter Assembly ended up with a short recap of NATCON preparation and upcoming SFC’s activity in Sohar. Tito Chong Zamora led the closing prayer. The assembly did not end without the groupie photos! J The evidence based that the SFC brothers overpower the SFC sisters in today’s assembly attendance.

Article By: M Grace Sombero Demegillo

Related Article: April Chapter Assembly of the CFC Singles for Christ Oman By: Cyrus Garay

What is Palm Sunday?

palm-sundayOn Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with palm branches. Immediately following this great time of celebration in the ministry of Jesus, he begins his journey to the cross.

The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19.

Customs:

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2012 Palm Sunday (St. James the Apostle Parish Church, Plaridel, Bulacan)

In the Philippines, communities re-enact Jesus’ triumphal entry with a procession. A statue of Christ astride a donkey (the humenta) or the officiating priest on horseback processes around or towards the local church along with congregants bearing ornately woven palaspas(palm branches). In some towns, elderly women spread heirloom tapis (“aprons” made for this sole purpose) or large cloths along the route. Children dressed as angels sometimes sing the Osana (“Hosanna”) whilst strewing flowers about.

Once blessed, the palaspas are taken home by the faithful and placed on altars, or hung beside, on, or above doorways and windows. Although the true purpose of this custom is to welcome Christ, many Filipinos hold the fronds to be apotropaic, able to banish evil spirits, avert lightning, and prevent fires. There is also a folk tradition of feeding pieces of the palm leaves to roosters for sabong (cockfighting), a practise that was strongly discouraged by the Archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle.

Source: http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatispalmsunda.htm ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Sunday